Best Shun Knife for Efficient Cutting in the Kitchen

best shun knife

Western knives are great, but they tend to be heavy and have a simple look. If you want to spice things up in your kitchen, you'll want to get yourself the best shun knife. Shun knives are made from high-quality materials and can serve you for years with proper maintenance.

In this post, we'll review the best shun knives on the market and the factors you should use to make your decision.

Let's get to business!

Is a shun knife better?

1. Shun Classic Santoku Knife

Shun Classic 5.5-Inch Santoku Kitchen Knife Handcrafted in Japan, Small to Medium Sized, 5.5 Inch,...
  • Shun’s 5.5-Inch Santoku Knife’s perfect size conquers medium-sized kitchen tasks; convenient...
  • Part of Shun’s Classic series, this 5.5-Inch Santoku features tasteful and contemporary design and...
  • VG-MAX, high-performing steel core of Santoku blade enables incredible edge retention; additional...

If you are looking for a medium-sized blade for handling moderate cutting tasks in your kitchen, the Shun Classic Santoku Knife is the answer. It's conveniently sized and will be a great addition to your kitchen cutlery. The Santoku blade features a VG-MAX steel core which is one of the reasons it's a high-performance knife.

You won't be sharpening this shun knife frequently because it can retain a sharp edge for a long time. Plus, there's also some chromium in the steel, ensuring the blade is resistant to corrosion and wear. You can rely on this sharp blade to deliver a consistent cutting performance and durability.

This shun knife will feel well-balanced in your hand thanks to the sleek handle it features. The handle is made of hardwood and which gives it a smooth ebony appearance that makes it a stylish addition to your kitchen knives. It's the perfect knife for professionals and amateurs alike, which is why it's among the best shun knives on the market.


  • Comfortable to hold
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Sharp cutting edge
  • Medium-sized


  • Heavy construction
  • Feels clunky

2. Shun Classic 8-Inch Chef's Knife

Shun Classic 8-Inch Kiritsuke Kitchen Knife; Chef’s Knife With 68 Layers of Stainless Damascus...
  • A versatile, multi-purpose knife, the Shun Classic Kiritsuke is known for its variety of uses; use...
  • In Japan, the kiritsuke is known as a master chef’s knife; Shun’s version is perfect for cooks...
  • The Shun Classic Kiritsuke features Shun's proprietary high-performance VG-MAX stainless steel and...

Another excellent alternative is the Shun Classic Chef's Knife, a versatile cutting tool that can handle various functions in your cooking space. It comes with a rounded belly which helps simplify challenging tasks like making rocking cuts. If you are a chef or avid cooking enthusiast, this knife is the solution to your needs.

This chef knife is also ideal for aspiring cooks because of its high-quality construction and performance. The blade is made from VG-MAX stainless steel for maximum longevity as it serves you. It also contains 68 layers of Damascus steel which gives it a stunning appearance, a razor-sharp edge, and excellent edge retention.

The handle is made from PakkaWood, a natural hardwood that can resist moisture for maximum durability. It also makes the knife look like a premium quality blade that you can use for professional tasks. Since the handle is D-shaped, it will provide as much control as you need while providing a comfortable grip.


  • Lightweight chef knife
  • Multifunctional
  • Extremely sharp edge
  • Easy to control and maneuver
  • Durable blade


  • The gold logo quickly wears off

3. Shun Sora 8 Inch Chef Knife

Shun Sora 8 inch Chef Knife, NSF Certified Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan, VB0706
  • The must-have kitchen knife - handcraft in Japan
  • Steel: proprietary composite blade technology; VG10 san Mai cutting core; Japanese 420J blade upper
  • VG10 is clad with one layer of stainless steel on each side to create the San Mai edge and provide...

Our next pick is the Shun Sora Chef Knife which is made from a VG10 steel core with high amounts of carbon, ensuring it will be durable enough for a busy kitchen. It's layered with 420J Japanese steel, making it resistant to corrosion and damage to give it maximum longevity. Additionally, it's stain-resistant and won't give you a hard time cleaning it, but it's not dishwasher safe.

Like other Japanese knives, this one is sharp enough to handle any cutting tasks you throw at it. The edge is so sharp that you'll smoothly chop all sorts of ingredients without a lot of effort. It's an excellent pick for cutting cooked meat, sausages, chicken, steak, vegetables, and fruits.

Another reason to add this Japanese knife to your current Shun cutlery is the well-designed handle. It takes the traditional Japanese design, making it easy to maintain and use. The knife is also lightweight in your hand, and you won't easily fatigue while using it.


  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Razor-sharp blade
  • Shun knife steel core


  • It can come apart if it falls

4. Shun Classic Blonde Chef's Knife

Shun Classic Blonde 8” Chef's Knife, Blonde PakkaWood Handle, Full Tang VG-MAX Blade
  • With a high-carbon VG-MAX steel cutting core and 34 layers of Damascus cladding, the do-it-all Shun...
  • The beautifully modern, D-shaped, blonde PakkaWood handle encases the full composite tang blade for...
  • The shape of a traditional Western chef knife with the profile and lightweight design of a Japanese...

The Shun Classic Blonde Chef's Knife is also among the best options available. It's made with a high carbon stainless steel VG-MAX core surrounded by 34 layers of Damascus steel. As such, this knife is above your standard kitchen knives because of its superior build and corrosion resistance.

This beautiful Shun blade features full tang construction and is well balanced to ensure you can execute professional tasks without hassle. The ergonomic handle is D-shaped and provides a firm grip, whether right or left-handed. So it's no surprise that this blade is considered the best Shun knife by many chefs.

If you take a close look at the shape of this Shun classic knife, you'll notice it takes the design of your typical Western knives. However, it has the lightweight profile of a Japanese knife, ensuring you can use it for all your slicing, dicing, rocking, and mincing functions.


  • VG-MAX cutting core
  • Very sharp blade
  • Comfortable handle design
  • Corrosion-resistant


  • Not dishwasher safe

5. Shun Kanso Japanese Vegetable Knife

Shun Kanso 6.5-Inch Hollow-Ground Nakiri; Japanese Vegetable Knife; Razor-Sharp, High-Performance...
  • The Nakiri, Japanese for “vegetable knife,” is a must-have kitchen blade; chefs around the world...
  • With its straight edge, blade and spine, Nakiri swiftly slices through vegetables with precise push...
  • Hollow-ground indentations along base of blade help food release more easily; dice onions, chop...

A Nakiri or Japanese vegetable knife is a convenient tool to have in your kitchen. This Shun Knife is a razor-sharp precision cutting tool that is easy to use thanks to its great build. It's well balanced to ensure it feels great in your hand, giving you enough control to guide the knife in any direction.

The knife also comes with a Tagayasan wood handle. This wood is also known as iron sword wood because it's dense, long-lasting, and looks elegant. The angle of the handle and the lightweight nature of the blade ensure you can deliver professional results after cutting with it.

The full tang construction makes this knife a long-term cutting solution to your kitchen needs. Additionally, there's a Heritage finish that prevents scratches from becoming visible on the knife. If you ever need to sharpen your shun knife, you can return it to Shun for free sharpening.


  • High-quality construction
  • Easy to handle
  • Retains the sharp edge
  • Thin blade


  • The handle feels cheap

A Comparison of Shun Knives

Shun Cutlery is among the leading manufacturers of Japanese knives for kitchen use. There are seven different knife lines that they've released, each differing in quality, price, and preference among customers. The Shun lines include:

  1. Shun Kanso
  2. Shun Sora
  3. Shun Classic
  4. Shun Premier
  5. Shun Dual Core
  6. Shun Blue Steel
  7. Shun Hiro

Since some lines are more popular than others, we'll shortly compare the main Shun Knife lines.

1. Shun Hiro vs. Shun Premier

These two lines share a lot of similarities in terms of appearance. You'll get any kitchen knife you need in these two lines, e.g., a utility knife, chef knife, bread knife, or slicing knife. There are some differences between these two lines; for instance, the Premier Series features a VG-MAX cutting core, while the Hiro has an SG2 steel core.

If you have to choose between the two, we recommend the Shun Hiro because of its quality and longevity. Unfortunately, the Hiro series costs double the Premier series, which is why you should choose the latter if you are on a budget. However, if you don't have any financial restraints, you should go with the Shun Hiro series.

2. Shun Classic vs. Shun Sora

If you are looking for the best shun knives at an affordable price, the Shun Sora series is the perfect place to go. The Shun Classic line is a bit expensive; for example, a paring knife from the classic line is twice as costly as one from the Shun Sora line. The classic knives are constructed from more high-end materials than the Sora knives.

The tie-breaker for these two lines is your price range. In terms of quality, the Classic is a better choice than the Sora, but if you'd rather go with a more affordable option, the Sora will work for you.

3. Shun Classic vs. Premier

The Classic and Premier collections share many features like their excellent finish, VG MAX steel core, and Damascus folded steel. However, they look different because the Premier tends to be highly polished while the Classic seems a bit dull. Even the handles differ in terms of shape and finish.

Classics feature a D-shaped handle that's a great option for right-handed users, while the Premier knives have symmetrical handles that offer the same balance and comfort for right and left-handed people alike. So, your final decision will mostly depend on which hand you use for cutting tasks.

Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Shun Knife

Selecting the best Shun knife isn't a thoughtless task. On the contrary, you'll need to keep several factors in mind when narrowing down on a specific knife. Let's discuss these factors below.

1. Blade Steel

Shun knives are made from different types of blade materials. Some of the common options include VG-MAX stainless steel, VG10, Blue Carbon Steel, and Damascus stainless steel. These materials differ in durability, sharpness, and edge retention, which is why you should carefully consider them.

The ideal options include VG10 steel, VG-MAX steel, and stainless steel since these are the most durable and offer razor-sharp blades.

2. Tang

The tang of your blade refers to how far the steel can reach in the handle. Full tang knives are those whose blade is also a part of the handle, and they are the more durable option. Unfortunately, full tang blades can be heavier than partially tang blades, so if you want lighter knives, you should choose the latter.

3. Handle

Shun knives come with handles made from one of two materials; natural hardwood or synthetic components. The hardwood handles will cost you more than the synthetic ones, so you'll need to make this consideration based on how much you plan to spend on the knife.

The shape of the handles will also dictate the ease of using the knife. So, you'll need to ensure the handle is shaped ergonomically to ensure you can use it without discomfort or fatigue.

How to Sharpen Shun Knives

The process of sharpening shun knives is much different from that of Western knives. Sun blades are much thinner and harder, unlike German knives, which are heavier and thicker. There are three ways you can sharpen your Shun knives without compromising their sharp performance or durability.

1. Free Sharpening at Shun

One of the reasons Shun knives are the best is because you can get free sharpening for your knives. If sharpening the knife yourself seems tricky, you can just send your knife back after filling out a form. This will eliminate the need to worry about the right sharpening angle, scratching the blade, or making the edge blunt.

2. Using a Whetstone

If shipping your blade back is a hassle, you can try sharpening it with a whetstone. The main challenge with this method is that it requires a certain level of skill to ensure you don't damage the knife.

3. Electric Knife Sharpener

The last method you can use is with an electric knife sharpener. You'll need to ensure the sharpener works at a 16-degree angle to ensure you don't get the wrong results. If you are avid with an electric sharpener, you can go ahead and use it to sharpen Shun knives.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which line of Shun knives is the best?

The best Shun knife line is the Shun Classic which offers a sharp edge, durability, and great edge retention.

2. What is special about Shun knives?

These knives are feature beautiful high-quality blades that are thin and lightweight to deliver a premium cutting performance.

3. Do Shun knives break easily?

Shun knives will break if you drop them or swing them against a hard surface or object. 

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